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David Green
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David: The idea is to indemnify anyone who might be sued for damages for failing to implement the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, in practice all British taxpayers. The Act would prohibit any enforcement action in our courts.
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Ed: I set out my reasoning in a piece in the Telegraph yesterday. Judicial review of executive action has long been a desirable part of our tradition. But the judges are acting on behalf of Parliament to ensure that the executive does not abuse its powers. The judges have no authority, even under the Human Rights Act, to overrule Parliamentary decisions.
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I am not proposing that the government should set up savings and enterprise banks, only that it should create a legal framework that allows private enterprise to establish them. The law does not only constrain, it also creates facilities for free enterprise. It is true that the very first building societies were founded before there was a building societies act but as soon as the idea caught on the buildings societies themselves sought an Act of Parliament. Before the Benefit Building Societies Act of 1836 there were doubts about the ability of societies to borrow as a result of earlier judicial rulings under common law and there were also doubts about the liability of borrowers for the debts of other borrowers. Even after the 1874 Building Societies Act there was a great scandal in 1892 when the Liberator Building Society crashed as a result of fraud, causing losses to thousands of people who could ill afford it. It led to the 1894 Building Societies Act, which required fuller disclosure to discourage future fraud.
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